OFFBEAT: First Stage and Emerald City Theatre holding auditions Sunday for Broadway in Chicago's production of 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-07-27T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: First Stage and Emerald City Theatre holding auditions Sunday for Broadway in Chicago's production of 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'By Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

TV historian Rick Goldschmidt, who hails from neighboring Oak Lawn, Ill., once told me he is picky about how he believes the tiny beaming deer of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" fame, should really look.

Goldschmidt said he prefers "vintage Rudolph" to the later puppet incarnations that starred in follow-up Rankin/Bass holiday television specials.

Goldschmidt also serves as archivist for, the Web site dedicated to preserving the history and cherished childhood memories associated with the many television and film works of legendary stop-animation producers Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. He is dedicated to the mission of preserving the memories associated with the Dec. 6, 1964, broadcast of the now-classic "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" TV special, a treasured holiday staple of December television programming year after year.

The preservationist for all the details, photos and answers to trivia questions about all things Rankin/Bass, Rick Goldschmidt also is the author of two popular pop culture bibles on this subject. His hardcover book, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Making of the Rankin/Bass Classic" (2001 Miser Brothers Press $29.95) enjoys brisk sells throughout the year. And as the premier authority on the classic Rankin and Bass TV specials, it's no surprise Goldschmidt's first book "The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass," which featured a foreword by "Rudolph" snowman narrator Burl Ives, quickly sold out in 2000 before being reprinted.

I'll be eager to hear how Goldschmidt likes the new stage production of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" being dreamed up by First Stage, along with Emerald City Theatre and Broadway in Chicago. It is set to play play the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 East Chestnut, from Nov. 14 to Dec. 29, 2013.

Youth dance auditions are being held at Goodman Rehearsal Hall, 170 N. Dearborn St. at noon tomorrow, Sunday, July 28, 2013. It's for kids ages 10-18

According to the advanced marketing blast from Broadway in Chicago: "The beloved stop-motion classic 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer' and his friends soar off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monster to saving Christmas, join Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius as their adventures teach us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don't miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the little misfit in all of us."

I'm told this run will "honor the tradition of the original animated television special," as Emerald City Theatre and First Stage "bring to life the magical world of the North Pole in a large-scale, spectacle-filled musical with all the classic songs." The producers also alert it "is appropriate for all ages" and presented under license from Character Arts, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" creative team includes: First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank as director, Emerald City Producing Artistic Director Ernie Nolan as choreographer and associate director, Brandon Kirkham as production designer, Jason Fassl as lighting designer and Matt Whitmore on sound design with Two Birds Casting doing casting.

Founded in 1996, Emerald City Theatre creates theater experiences that inspire early learners through play. Emerald City ranks one of Chicago's most attended non-profit theaters, with an annual programing reach of 80,000.

Through a rigorous collaboration between innovating artists and leading educators, Emerald City develops new work for young audiences, with over 29 world premieres; produces professional productions at the Apollo Theater in Lincoln Park, The Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, and the Little Theatre; and provides acclaimed educational programming throughout Chicago through Emerald City Theatre School.

Since 1987, First Stage has grown to become one of the nation's most acclaimed children’s theaters and the second largest theater company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. First Stage touches hearts and transforms lives through professional theater productions that engage, enlighten and entertain more than 115,000 audience members annually. Committed to new play development, First Stage has presented nearly 50 world premieres in its history and has collaborated with renowned artists including Harry Connick Jr. and Stephen Schwartz, and award-winning authors Lois Lowry and Cornelia Funke. Its Theater Academy, teaching life skills through stage skills, is the largest theater training program of its kind in the nation. As Wisconsin's leader in arts-in-education programming, First Stage's dynamic Theater in Education programs promote active learning in our schools and our community, serving over 20,000 children each year.

This production of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" is part of the Broadway In Chicago 2013 off-season specials. Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets for will go on sale at a later date. FYI:

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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